Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Madame Alexander Hollywood Cissy, a Modern Doll Rocking Vintage Glamour

Don't tell Cissy, but I thought this doll was a lot older than she actually is! Turns out Hollywood Cissy is only from 1999/2000. I bought this doll second-hand, and there is not a lot of information on the internet about her anymore. I have her original box, and probably her certificate of origin, but that box is buried under some other stuff, and I didn't consider it worth digging out.

Madame Alexander originally produced Cissy dolls in the mid-to-late 1950s. At that time Cissy had a resemblance, in my eyes, to the Miss Revlon or Toni dolls. She was the same height as now, 20-21", with a lady doll figure, and high-heeled feet.

Cissy came back with a makeover and a vengeance in the late 1990s. She was an extreme diva, and her most fervent collectors called themselves "Cissy Swine," as Cissy was a demanding dolly and always needed another outfit or more jewelry. Cissy is still produced, but the changes have turned off many diehard collectors. For one thing, the price has doubled or tripled; Cissy now is around $1000 at retail. New Cissy has bending elbows, but word is the vinyl is not as high quality as the earlier dolls. She also has a different face mold, that can appear "mean" or unhappy. As so often happen with doll lines, Madame Alexander changed the Cissy doll and got rid of lot of the things that drew in previous collectors. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on doll sales in the end, and I don't have those numbers. One more note, Hollywood Cissy also came with an African-American skintone, and black hair in the same style as my doll.

It's amazing what taking photographs can do for your appreciation of a doll. Cissy is on a shelf in my bedroom, so I see her every day, but when I put her in front of the camera, she really came to life.
She came wearing everything that you see in the pictures, and more that you will see below the fold. I think her wig is mohair, judging by the texture. Her eyes are sleep eyes. She has movement at her head, arms at the shoulder, waist, hips and knees, and can strike some nice poses, as you can see above.
Cissy dolls did not come with stands. My other Cissy has a very nice hand-made, wooden saddle stand I bought online from an individual vendor. Unfortunately, Hollywood Cissy's mermaid dress is too tight to fit a saddle stand underneath, so for now she is displayed with the help of the chair.
Cissy came with some decent high-heeled shoes, but the elastic on them is completely shot, if it ever was snug-fitting. This should be easy to replace by peeling the felt soles back and attaching new elastic, or maybe even fabric. It just hasn't been a priority.

Cissy's hip joints are interesting. They are some kind of metal, and use a spring. Her knee joints also seem to use a spring, judging by the sound I hear when I bend and unbend her knees. The knee joints can be very stiff; the hip joints are very loose. I took a couple of blurry pictures of the inside of her hips. I really don't want to pull her apart too much.
Every Hollywood diva needs sunglasses, and Cissy is no exception. She's chosen the cat's eye look.
Every vintage Hollywood "stah" also needs a fur to walk the red carpet, and Cissy comes with a white wrap, with beaded appliques on the front, and a tassel at the back. The inside of the stole is lined with a silk-type material, and has two snaps on either side to fasten the wrap around her arms. You can also see how impressively long the train on her dress is.
Lastly, here are two comparison shots with the most similar dolls I have. The first doll is Tonner's 18" Miss America Doll, who has the same body as Kitty Collier. The second doll is an American Girl, who of course is also 18".
Besides being on display, this doll and the other Cissy doll that I own don't get much attention, but I still enjoy having them in my collection. They're fairly unique dolls right now, and well made. At some point, Hollywood Cissy's wig ought to be replaced, although I'll try giving this wig a very gentle brush-out first. I don't think the photos quite show how matted those curls are. Most importantly, I appreciate their beauty, even if they don't see much "play."

16 comments:

  1. She is so elegant:) She looks like a real movie star:)

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    1. I agree! I would love to dress like this if I was a movie star. :)

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  2. Oh wow, that dress is glorious! Combined with the cape she is very Jean Harlow.

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    1. The dress is scrumptious, and I can see the Jean Harlow; I also see some Veronica Lake.

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  3. I'd heard of Cissy, but I had no idea her doll was so BIG! Whoa! That dress is to die for!

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  4. I'm glad you got to see a Cissy doll! Her size is one of the reasons that I only have two of them. Madame Alexander did do a fantastic job on her dress.

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  5. That is one elegant outfit! She looks very 1930s starlet. And wow! I thought your $1000 estimate for modern Cissy's was a typo! But no! They really are that much! That's crazy.
    This one is gorgeous though.

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    1. MA definitely did a good job capturing the feel of old Hollywood; her entire look says starlet. And yes, it's insane what MA is asking for modern Cissy dolls. I suspect that they are not selling well, but I have no definite proof of that. Even today, my two older Cissy dolls would bring in about $200 a piece on the open market, based on what I saw when I was looking for information about them to write this. But the original price for the older ones was never anywhere near $1000. I'm just going to be happy with the two that I have. :)

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  6. I didn't know about this doll and it was quite interesting to read about her. Those "changes that turn off collectors" is an story that sounds familiar to me. I don't know why companies sometimes ruin the things that make doll lines great.

    Cheers!

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    1. I used to read a Cissy doll message board, and the collectors there got the impression that Madame Alexander had an "artistic" vision for Cissy. Someone who took a tour at Madame Alexander said one of the Cissy designers was appalled when he found out collectors were re-dressing the doll he had designed. Supposedly he saw his doll as more of a work of art than a doll to be played with and re-dressed and maybe even re-wigged. I have no proof of that, but a $1000 price tag and fashion designer collaborations seems to suggest MA takes that view. As far as I'm concerned, the true test is if the doll sells. Sometimes I think companies just start flailing out of desperation, like I think Mattel is right now.

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    2. I was totally thinking of Mattel. And the worst thing is that they're not listening to their fans.

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    3. Mattel has to cater to kids first, but it seems as though its dolls aren't selling well with kids either. I'm not sure anyone at the top of the company has a firm grasp of how to fix things, and they don't seem able to focus on more than one or two lines at once.

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  7. I've been wanting to send you an email to continue that thyroid discussion, and I can't find your email address. Send it to me again or email me. By the way, I just noticed that you like Squeeze! Me too! Emma and I went to see Glenn Tilbrook a couple of years ago. I was really happy that he sang my favourite Squeeze song, Up the Junction.After the show he signed my East Side Story. Emma has been doing an email interview with Chris Difford for Rebeat magazine,but she just submitted it.

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    1. I emailed you. I haven't been to a concert in ages, partially because I don't have anyone to go with. No one in my family shares my obviously excellent taste in music.

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  8. Wow, Sissy is much bigger than I expected once I got to the size comparison photos! You're right, I also would've thought she was much older than she is. I couldn't agree more about how photography can bring a doll to life as I often find a newfound love for certain dolls when I take them out for photographs. :)

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    1. Yep, Cissy is about the size a lot of BJDs probably are. One of the fun things about blogging has been being motivated more to photograph, and sew, and make new displays.

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